In newly unearthed videos, commentator Toni Shuppe claimed that Pizzagate is “absolutely real. It is 100% real,” and praised QAnon as “a very valuable resource.” Shuppe has been mentioned as a potential secretary of state pick for Mastriano, who would have the power to appoint the position if he becomes Pennsylvania governor.
Shuppe also shared numerous 9/11 conspiracy theories on Facebook from a “trusted friend,” including the false claim about Flight 93: “Never forget that eye witnesses and first responders reported no plane wreckage or bodies in the Pennsylvania field where flight 93 supposedly crashed.” (In a separate post, Shuppe claimed that 9/11 was “a false flag.”)
Shuppe is the co-founder and CEO of Audit The Vote PA, a Pennsylvania-based organization that’s dedicated to falsely claiming that the 2020 vote was stolen from former President Donald Trump. Shuppe also appears as a supposed expert on right-wing outlets like One America News and Steve Bannon’s War Room and writes a Substack newsletter.
The Pennsylvania-based publication LNP | LancasterOnline in May examined Audit The Vote PA’s work and found that it “was rife with errors and speculation and that its methodology was deeply flawed, mistakes that undermine its conclusion and make its findings unreliable.”
Shuppe is a key ally of Mastriano in Pennsylvania because she shares the Republican candidate’s focus on falsely claiming that the 2020 election was stolen. The two are also both January 6 insurrectionists.
Among his many connections to Shuppe, Mastriano featured her in an endorsement video where she praised him as “the only [state] senator first of all that was willing to admit that the 2020 election was not completely free and fair, on the up and up.” She also did a November 2021 fundraising video for him. Additionally, Mastriano has appeared at events with Shuppe -- including his campaign kickoff -- and shared her election denying work.
Mastriano and Shuppe are so tied together that HuffPost and The Philadelphia Inquirer mentioned her as Mastriano's potential pick for Pennsylvania secretary of state, a non-elected position that’s appointed by the governor. Mastriano has refused to say who he would nominate if he wins.
Shuppe promoted 9/11 conspiracy theories, including about Flight 93. On September 11, 2020, Shuppe shared numerous 9/11 conspiracy theories in a Facebook post. She wrote: “This is not my original post and I won't be debating any of this. I am simply sharing info from a trusted friend.” The claims in Shuppe's post included:
- “Never forget that eye witnesses and first responders reported no plane wreckage or bodies in the Pennsylvania field where flight 93 supposedly crashed.”
- “Never forget that no video has ever been released showing a plane hitting the pentagon despite having 85 external cameras that could have captured the footage.”
- “Never forget that at least 7 of the 19 'hijackers' are still alive and the FBI has still not updated its list. At least 5 are listed as connected to US military institutions.”
Media Matters previously noted that Shuppe shared a meme claiming that 9/11 was a “distraction” from a “gold heist."
Shuppe: “I do believe that the idea of Pizzagate, what is happening there is absolutely real. It is 100% real.” In a July 30, 2020, Facebook video, Shuppe endorsed Pizzagate, the QAnon-linked conspiracy theory that prominent politicians have been trafficking children, including through the D.C.-based pizzeria Comet Ping Pong. In 2016, a Pizzagate conspiracy theorist opened fire at the restaurant.
Shuppe said: “I do believe that the idea of Pizzagate, what is happening there is absolutely real. It is 100% real that it's happening. Did it happen in the basement of Comet Ping Pong pizza? I don't know. I don't know all the details, but it is happening.”
Shuppe said she follows QAnon and considers it “a very valuable resource.” Shuppe mentioned QAnon in a September 23, 2020, video that discussed child trafficking issues. Shuppe said she doesn’t “don't know if I consider myself a QAnon -- I follow the movement.” She then defended QAnon supporters and said: “I think it's actually a very valuable resource.”